In the summer residents and staff at Park View Care Centre took part in a very special campaign to celebrate would have been the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

As part of the RCH Care Homes group, the home in Ashford, Kent participated in a number of Olympic and sporting themed events and activities as part of their alternative #RCHOlympiansCampaign.

One aspect of the campaign was to help residents hold photoshoots where they could recreate their own special sporting moments based on their hobbies and interests over the years. There was such enthusiasm and excitement for the idea, we even ended up creating our very own Sporting Heroes E Book.

The Activities Team at the family centred home set about being detectives, speaking with residents, staff, families and loved ones to uncover present and past sporting accolades. Everyone had such a wonderful time reminiscing, sharing stories, photos and newspaper clippings; inadvertently they ended up unearthing some lovely surprises which led to our very own version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’!

And so this is where our special account from one of our residents, Pamela Ward, begins……..

Pamela, who has lived at the residential dementia and nursing home for the last year and a half, enjoyed reminiscing with Activity Co-ordinator Debbie about how she has always been very sporty, enjoying tennis, hockey and netball at school. Due to her competitive nature, she especially liked netball and playing the position of Goal Attack.

However, Pamela’s story didn’t end there. Debbie recalls how she uncovered Pam’s secret wish to take up boxing, “Chatting with Pam about her sporting days when she was a young girl, it transpired that her grandfather on her mother’s side, was a lightweight prize fighter in the late 1800s. She didn’t remember much else other than that he came over from Ireland in the late 1800s to take up Bare Knuckle Fighting and that his surname was Adams.”

Pam went on to tell Debbie that she’d always wanted to take up boxing, inspired by the tales of her Grandfather’s Bare-Knuckle accolades. Sadly, at that time in history, young girls/women were not often encouraged or allowed to take up sport, especially sports which were typically seen as only being appropriate for boys/men and Pam never realised her dream!

Intrigued by Pam’s story about her Grandfather and Pam’s unfulfilled wish, Debbie set about becoming a sleuth extraordinaire in a bid to find out more. After speaking with Pam’s children, she was able to fill in more of the gaps. “Her grandfather was born in Ireland, and came over to England in the late 1800’s, to take up Bare knuckle fighting with travelling circuses and fairs. Pam’s daughter recalls her mother referring to him as Ted. She also told me that there was information on the internet about him.”

Intrigued even further about the story and with a determination to piece the puzzle together for Pam, Debbie began researching online and after months of research she was finally able to piece the story together.

Edward Adams, Pam’s Grandfather, indeed had been born in Ireland before coming to Britain to be a ‘Prize Winning’ Bare Knuckle Fighter. He served in the army between 1914 -1918 during WW1, where he kept up his boxing career. Sadly, Edward passed away at the age of 45 due to an asthma attack.

Debbie’s next startling discovery left everyone involved keen to find out more. As she was coming to the end of her research, she found an archive which showed an Edward Adams had taken part in the 1908 Olympics – could this have actually been Pam’s Grandfather? “No one in Pam’s family could confirm that this was the same person, but how amazing would it be if it was?”

Pam was delighted when Debbie presented her the findings of her research, “I have so many fond memories of my Grandfather so it was wonderful to hear these stories again, I admired him greatly and his boxing career made me want to get in the ring myself. I can’t believe that he could actually have been an Olympian!”

The second part of Debbie’s mission was to make Pam’s dream of becoming a boxer, a reality. The home quickly set about finding Pam her own pair of pink boxing gloves and a Wii Fit which she and the other residents are now thoroughly enjoying practising their boxing skills with!

The story highlights just one of many ways in which RCH Care Homes encourages and enables our residents to continue their passions and interests, and how age is not a limitation or obstacle to remaining active or to fulfilling life-long dreams.